People who menstruate can now order free sanitary pads, tampons, and reusable menstrual cups online as part of Fife Council’s latest collaboration with council partner Hey Girls. Free period products have been available across Fife in public buildings, including schools, colleges and council offices, since 2019. They can be located using the PickupMyPeriod app. The 2022 addition to the Scottish Government’s free period products scheme allows people to find the nearest venue with a supply, ideally one they can easily walk to. St Andrews students can find free period products in gender neutral and female toilets in lecture halls and libraries.
The rollout of free sanitary products in Scotland began in 2021, when the Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland Act was passed. This came fully into force in January 2023, and means local authorities have a duty to make these products fully available to anyone who needs them. Scotland was the first country to make period products free, after Monica Lennon MSP proposed and campaigned for this legislation, telling The Guardian the legislation would “make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates.”
Fife Council highlights this is more important than ever during the cost of living crisis, as it is becoming more and more expensive to meet basic needs such as food, heating and hygiene.
Hey Girls, the social enterprise supplying period products to councils across Scotland and Wales, was founded in 2018. For every one of its products purchased, the company donates one to someone in need, and it is committed to using compostable and recyclable packaging.
100% of its profits go to further campaigning efforts to end period poverty, including lobbying other governments across the UK to put period dignity policies in place.
In the present day, the partnership between Fife Council and Hey Girls is going from strength to strength. Councillor Linda Erskine, Spokesperson for Leisure and Community Services, reflected, “We have been offering free products across Fife since 2019 and we want women and girls to continue to have access to free products in a dignified way. I'm delighted that the Council has provided additional funding so that people can once again order these products online and have them delivered to their home. The cost of sanitary products can be a big issue for people in poverty, and it's important that these essential products are made as accessible as possible to all who need them, particularly during a time where the cost-of-living crisis continues to take hold. This is just one of the services that we aim to try and help with so that people can save what they have for their household bills.”
Georgie Nicholson, Hey Girls’ Participation and Contracts Manager added, “We are delighted to be partnering with Fife Council again to offer sustainable period products to residents in need, following the success of our initiative in 2020.”
He noted, "People immediately in need of products in the county can also use the PickupMyPeriod mobile app to find their nearest venue supplying free pads and tampons.
"Working alongside Fife Council is a real joy – it is fantastic they recognise the role they have to play in the fight to end period poverty.”
Students can find more information about the PickupMyPeriod app here: https://www.gov.scot/news/new-app-to-access-free-period-products/, order free period products online here: https://www.fife.gov.uk/kb/welfare,-benefits-and-money-advice/period-poverty and learn about further cost of living support from Fife Council here: https://our.fife.scot/gethelp.
Illustration: Hannah Beggerow